City treating water for unpleasant taste and odor caused by algae

photo by: Mike Yoder

A treatment tank is pictured at the Clinton Water Treatment Plant in this file photo from 2010.

The City of Lawrence is treating water from Clinton Lake for an unpleasant taste and odor caused by algae.

Lawrence has two major sources for its drinking water: the Kansas River and Clinton Lake. The Clinton Water Treatment Plant is currently treating water with elevated levels of geosmin, a byproduct of blue-green algae, the city announced in a news release Monday. The geosmin poses no health risk to residents, but it may cause an earthy smell and taste in the water. The city has increased treatment to eliminate as much of the smell and taste differences as possible.

Higher rates of runoff this year have increased the influx of nutrients, which, combined with warmer temperatures, are adding to the elevated geosmin levels, according to the release. People have different levels of sensitivity to geosmin, with some able to detect geosmin at very low levels while others may not notice any change in the water.

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